It’s official. The American dystopia is here. Obama administration officials admit that the CIA assassination program that snuffed out Anwar al-Awlaki last Friday is guided by a secret panel that decides who lives and dies. According to Reuters:
American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.
There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.
Let that sink in. The U.S. presidency, supposed leader of the free world, has a clandestine committee that chooses American citizens to assassinate. This from the administration that promised unprecedented transparency and a ratcheting back of Bush-era civil liberties abuses. This from the president who vowed to restore habeas corpus and subject executive war powers to judicial scrutiny. This from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.